English billiards,called simply billiards in the United Kingdom, where it originated, and in many former British colonies such as Australia, is a cue sport that combines the aspects of carom billiards and pool. Two (historically both white, with one marked with a dot, but more recently one white and one yellow) and a red are used. Each player or team uses a different cue ball. It is played on a billiards table with the same dimensions as a snooker table and points are scored for and pocketing the balls. English billiards has also, but less frequently, been referred to as "the English game", "the all-in game" and (formerly) "the common game".
English billiards was originally called the winning and losing carambole game, folding in the names of three predecessor games, the winning game, the losing game and the carambole game (an early form of straight rail), that combined to form it.
The winning game was played with two white balls, and was a 12-contest. To start, the player who could strike a ball at one end of the table and get the ball to come to rest nearest the opposite cushion without lying against it earned the right to shoot for points first. This is the origin of the modern custom of " " (or " "). A player who pocketed the opponent's ball scored two points, as is still the case in modern billiards.
(or ): A player missing the opponent's ball added one point to his opponent's total; the shooter conceded two points if that player's own ball (then acting as the ) went into a pocket after striking the opponent's ball; and the player conceded three points if the cue ball was pocketed without even hitting the opponent's ball. These rules continued to exist in English billiards until 1983, when a standard two points for all fouls was introduced.
By contrast, in the losing game a player could only score (2 points) by pocketing the cue ball through aoff the opponent's ball. " " and " " are terms still mentioned in the official rules for these two fundamental shot types, although " " and " " have become the usual terms for them in British English.
The final element was the(or ) shot, which came from carom or carambole billiards, a three-ball game popular in various countries of western Continental Europe, especially popularized by France (and today also popular in many parts of Asia and South America). In the 1700s, the carambole game added a red to the two white cue balls, and dispensed with the pockets. This ball was adopted into the English game, which retained the pockets, and the goal was to cannon off both the red and the opponent's ball on a single shot, earning 2 points. This influence on the English game appears to have come about through the popularity of French tables in English coffee houses; London alone had over two thousand such establishments in the early 18th century. One period advertisement read: "A very good French Billiard Table, little the worse for wearing, full size, with all the materials fit for French or English play".
The three ancestral games had their British heyday in the 1770s, but had combined into English billiards, with a 16-point score total, by approximately 1800.The skill required in playing these games helped retire the in favour of the cue.
There are a number of pocket billiard games directly descended from English billiards, including bull dog, scratch pool, thirty-one pool and thirty-eight. The last of these gave rise to the more well-known game cowboy pool.English Billiards was virtually unknown in the United States until 1913, when Melbourn Inman visited the US and played the game against Willie Hoppe. By 1915 the game had become rather popular, prompting American billiard hall proprietors of the period to increase the number of English-style tables in their establishments. It also became favored in British colonies; the game's longest-running champion was an Australian, Walter Lindrum, who held the World Professional Billiards Championship from 1933 until his retirement in 1950. The game remains popular in the UK, although it has been eclipsed by snooker.
The first governing body of the game, the Billiards Association, was formed in the UK in 1885, a period that saw a number of sporting bodies founded across the British sporting world.By the mid-20th century, the principal sanctioning body was the Billiards Association and Control Council (later the Billiards and Snooker Control Council), formed in 1919 by an amalgamation of the Billiards Association and the Billiards Control Club (founded in 1908).
In the 19th century and up through the mid-1950s, a common way for championship titles to change hands was by a challenge match. A challenge was issued to a championship title holder accompanied bymoney ("acclamation") held by a third party. Up until the first organised professional tournament in 1870, all English billiards champions were decided by challenge.
The first champion was Jonathan Kentfield, who held the title from 1820 to 1849, losing it to John Roberts Sr. after Kentfield refused his challenge. Roberts's 21-year reign lasted until he lost to William Cook in 1870. That year was also the first in which an English billiards challenge match was held in the United States.
From 1870 to 1983 the champions were: John Roberts Jr., (1870, 1871, 1875–77, 1885); Joseph Bennett, (1870, 1880–81); Charles Dawson, (1899–1900, 1901, 1903); H. W. Stevenson, (1901, 1909–11); Melbourne Inman, (1908–09, 1912–19); Willie Smith, (1920, 1923); Tom Newman, (1921–22, 1924–27); Joe Davis, (1928–32); Walter Lindrum, (1933–50); Clark McConachy, (1951-68); Rex Williams, (1968–76, 1982–83); and Fred Davis, (1980).
A "Women's Billiard Association" was formed in Britain in 1931. One of the founders was Teresa Billington-Greig who had been a leading suffragette and was then married to a billiard ball manufacturer.
Over the course of the 20th century, English billiards has been increasingly superseded as the favoured competitive spectator cue sport in the United Kingdom by the game of snooker played on the same table. However, because of the "in-off" scoring option, ball control (including for snooker) can be enhanced after much solo practice. A common exercise is to hit the object ball from the "D", go in-off into the centre pocket while the object ball hits the top cushion and returns to the same position halfway down the table. A highly skilled player can repeat the shot over and over, except in competition where the sequence run is limited, because it constitutes a.
There are three balls. They are the same size as snooker balls (52.5 mm or 2+1⁄16 in with a tolerance of 0.05 mm) and they must weigh the same to a tolerance of 0.5 g within a set.
The balls are designated as:
The billiard table used has the same dimensions as a snooker table, feet 8 inches by 5 ft 10 in (3.569 m by 1.778 m) with a tolerance of 1⁄2 inch (1.26 cm) in both directions, though smaller ones, down to half size, are often found in snooker halls, pubs and home billiard rooms.(and in many venues, both games are played on the same equipment). The playing area of a standard tournament table measures 11
To see who will be the starting player, players perform a, where both simultaneously hit a cue ball up the table, bouncing it off the top cushion so that it returns to (the first quarter-length of the table). The player who gets their ball closer to the baulk cushion can now choose which cue ball they want to use during the game and to break or let the opponent break.
The red ball is placed on theat the of the table (same as the in snooker) and the first player begins by playing in-hand from behind the baulk line. The other cue ball remains off the table until the opponent's first turn, when they play in hand from the "D".
The idea is to leave the ballsby creating either a double baulk (both object balls in baulk), or the red in baulk with the cue-ball ( ) to the top-side cushion.
Points are awarded as follows:
Combinations of the above may all be scored on the same shot. The most that can be scored in a single shot is therefore 10 – the red and the other cue ball are both potted via a cannon (the red must be struck first), and the cue ball is also potted, making a losing hazard off the red.
Winning is achieved by a player reaching a fixed number of points, determined at the start of the game, e.g. first to 300 points or by a timed game.
If the red is potted it ison the spot at the top of the table (the black spot). After the red has been potted twice off the spot in a row (i.e. without a cannon or losing hazard), it is respotted on the . If the middle spot is occupied, it goes on the (the pink spot in snooker). If both the middle and pyramid spots are occupied, it goes back on the spot. When potted from the middle or pyramid spot, it returns to the spot at the top of the table.
After a losing hazard, play continues in-hand from the "D". When playing from in-hand, a striker must touch a ball or cushion out of baulk before striking a ball in baulk.
If playing in-hand and all balls on the table are in baulk, and contact is not made with any ball, this is a miss; 2 points are awarded to the opponent, who must play from where the balls have come to rest.
If an opponent's cue ball is potted, it remains off the table until it is that opponent's turn to play, when it is returned to that player, who may play it in-hand from the "D". There is one exception to this rule: only 15 hazards in a row may be played, after which a cannon is needed to continue the break. If only the red ball is on the table at the start of the break (meaning a cannon cannot be made), then after 15 hazards the opponent's ball must be placed on the "brown spot". It becomes a "line ball" and may not be played directly from baulk.
If the cue ball is touching an object ball, then the balls must be respotted: red on its spot and opponent's ball in the centre spot, with the striker to play from in-hand.
Matches held under professional regulations include a rule forcing the player to execute a shot in a way to have his cue ball cross the baulk line, heading towards the baulk cushion, once between 80 and 99 points in every 100 in a running break.
If a foul occurs, two points are awarded to the opposing player who has the choice of playing from where the balls lie or they can be respotted.
There are a few different ways a foul can occur by:
Cue sports, also known as billiard sports, are a wide variety of games of skill generally played with a cue stick, which is used to strike billiard balls and thereby cause them to move around a cloth-covered billiards table bounded by elastic bumpers known as .
Eight-ball is a pool billiards played on a billiard table with six pockets, cue sticks, and sixteen billiard balls: a and fifteen . The object balls include seven solid-colored balls numbered 1 through 7, seven striped balls numbered 9 through 15, and the black 8 ball. After the balls are scattered with a , a player is assigned either the group of solid or striped balls once they have legally pocketed a ball from that group. The object of the game is to legally pocket the 8 ball in a "called" pocket, which can only be done after all of the balls from a player's assigned group have been cleared from the table.
Golf billiards is a pocket billiards game usually played for money. Unlike the majority of such games, it allows more than two people to play without compromises or rule changes. The game borrows from the outdoor game of golf, which is historically related to the cue sports. It is usually played on 10-foot or 12-foot snooker tables as their size and structure are more appropriate.
Carom billiards, sometimes called carambole billiards, is the overarching title of a family of cue sports generally played on cloth-covered, billiard tables. In its simplest form, the object of the game is to score or "counts" by one's own off both the opponent's cue ball and the on a single shot. The invention as well as the exact date of origin of carom billiards is somewhat obscure but is thought to be traceable to 18th-century France.
Russian pyramid, also known as Russian billiards is a form of pocket billiards played on a modified snooker table with narrower pockets. It is popular across Eastern Europe as well as countries of the former Soviet Union/Eastern Bloc. A variant with colored balls modeled on those of pool is known as Russian pool. In Western countries, the game is known as pyramid billiards, or simply pyramid within professional circles.
A billiard table or billiards table is a bounded table on which cue sports are played. In the modern era, all billiards tables provide a flat surface usually made of quarried slate, that is covered with cloth, and surrounded by vulcanized rubber cushions, with the whole thing elevated above the floor. More specific terms are used for specific sports, such as snooker table and pool table, and different-sized billiard balls are used on these table types. An obsolete term is billiard board, used in the 16th and 17th centuries.
Pool is a classification of cue sports played on a table with six pockets along the , into which balls are deposited. Each specific pool game has its own name; some of the better-known include eight-ball, blackball, nine-ball, ten-ball, seven-ball, straight pool, one-pocket, and bank pool.
Four-ball billiards or four-ball carom is a carom billiards game, played on a pocketless table with four billiard balls, usually two red and two white, one of the latter with a spot to distinguish it. Each player is assigned one of the white balls as a . A is scored when a shooter's cue ball s on any two other balls in the same . Two points are scored when the shooter caroms on each of the three object balls in a single shot. A carom on only one ball results in no points, and ends the shooter's .
A rack is a piece of equipment that is used to place billiard balls in their starting positions at the beginning of a pocket billiards game. Rack may also be used as a verb to describe the act of setting billiard balls in their starting positions, or as a noun to describe a set of balls that are in their starting positions.
The following is a glossary of traditional English-language terms used in the three overarching cue sports disciplines: carom billiards referring to the various games played on a billiard table without ; pool, which denotes a host of games played on a table with six pockets; and snooker, played on a large pocket table, and which has a sport culture unto itself distinct from pool. There are also hybrid pocket/carom games such as English billiards.
Cowboy pool is a hybrid pool game combining elements of English billiards through an intermediary game, with more standard pocket billiards characteristics. The game employs only four balls, the cue ball and three numbered balls, the 1, 3 and 5. It is played to 101 points, with points being awarded for a host of different shot types.
Honolulu, also known as banks, kisses and combinations, and as indirect, is a pocket billiards game in which players must all shots in an indirect fashion to reach a set number of points. According to the Billiard Congress of America, the governing body for billiards in the United States, Honolulu presents players with "an unending kaleidoscope of strategic and shot-making challenges."
Five-pin billiards or simply five-pins or 5-pins, is today usually a carom billiards form of cue sport, though sometimes still played on a pocket table. In addition to the customary three balls of most carom games, it makes use of a set of five upright pins (skittles) arranged in a "+" pattern at the center of the table. The game is popular especially in Italy and Argentina, but also in some other parts of Latin America and Europe, with international, televised professional tournaments. It is sometimes referred to as Italian five-pins or Italian billiards, or as italiana. A variant of the game, goriziana or nine-pins, adds additional skittles to the formation. A related pocket game, with larger pins, is played in Scandinavia and is referred to in English as Danish pin billiards, with a Swedish variant that has some rules more similar to the Italian game.
Snooker is a cue sport that is played on a baize-covered table with pockets in each of the four corners and in the middle of each of the long side cushions. It is played using a cue and snooker balls: one white , 15 worth one point each, and six balls of different : yellow, green (3), brown (4), blue (5), pink (6), black (7). A player wins a of snooker by scoring more points than the opponent(s), using the cue ball to the red and coloured balls. A player wins a match when they have achieved the best-of score from a pre-determined number of frames. The number of frames is always odd so as to prevent a tie or a draw.
Bottle pool, also known as bottle-billiards and bottle pocket billiards, is a hybrid billiards game combining aspects of both carom billiards and pocket billiards. Played on a standard pool table, the game uses just two , a cue ball, and a 6¾ inch (171 mm) tall, narrow-necked bottle called a or tally bottle, traditionally made from leather, that is placed on the table and used as a target for . Those unfamiliar with the game sometimes mistakenly use its name as a synonym for the very different game of kelly pool. Bottle pool has been described as combining "elements of billiards, straight pool and chess under a set of rules that lavishly rewards strategic shot making and punishes mistakes with Sisyphean point reversals."
Blackball pool, also known as reds and yellows and English eight-ball, is a pool game originating in the United Kingdom and popularized across Europe and The Commonwealth, such as Australia and South Africa. In the UK and Ireland it is usually called simply "pool". The game is played with sixteen balls on a small pool table with six .
Black pool, originally known as everlasting pool, was a form of pocket billiards (pool) mainly played in the late 19th century, first being recorded in 1862. This game was derived from life pool but lacked the pooling of bets and players had unlimited lives. It had as many as players with an additional that was placed on the . A player is paid a life (stake) from the opponent whose ball was potted. The player is then allowed to pot the black ball which meant all opponents must pay a life. Balls are respotted after being potted and the best strategy is to alternate potting colour and black to maximize money. Around 1875, black pool was merged with pyramid pool to form the new game of snooker, today one of the most popular cue sports in the world.
Sinuca brasileira, often simply called sinuca, is a cue sport played on a snooker table, using only one instead of snooker's fifteen, with the normal six of the standard set of snooker balls. Each ball carries the same basic value as in snooker. As with other pocket billiards games, a white is used to the red and other coloured balls. The game is played almost exclusively in Brazil and is little known outside this region.
Carom billiards and pool are two types of cue sports or billiards-family games, which as a general class are played with a stick called a cue which is used to strike billiard balls, moving them around a cloth-covered billiard table bounded by rubber attached to the confining of the table.
Kaisa or karoliina is a cue sport mainly played in Finland. The game originated in Russia, where it is still played to some extent. Kaisa equipment is similar to Russian pyramid from the 68 mm balls, small pockets barely large enough for a ball to enter, and the long and heavy cue sticks. Kaisa tables are usually 10 feet long and thus 2 feet shorter than official tournament Russian pyramid tables which are 12 feet long. It is a two-player or two-team game. As with many carom billiards games, both players have their own used to shoot at the other balls, and usually differentiated by one cue ball having a dot or other marking on it. In all, five balls are used: the yellow , two red object balls, and the two white cue balls. The game is played to 60 , in a rather elaborate scoring system, reminiscent of those used in snooker and English billiards, with points being awarded for various types of shots. Like both Russian and English billiards, which are also played on large pocket billiards tables, kaisa is a hybrid of carom and pocket billiards game styles. Kaisa is principally a recreational game, without professional players. However, the first kaisa world championship tournament was held in April 2010. Participants came from 33 countries, and the main tournament was held in Kotka. A Finnish player, Marko Rautiainen, won the championship title.
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